What is excessive vocalization a sign of?
Excessive vocalization can just mean that your dog likes to talk too much and needs a little extra training. On the other hand, if it’s accompanied by other behaviors or only happens in certain situations, it could be a sign of a behavioral problem, such as anxiety or aggression.
Other signs of anxiety include pacing, panting, drooling, shaking, stomach upsets, and destructive behaviors. Common causes of anxiety include separation, under-stimulation, a big life change, illness, trauma, phobias, and illness or death in the family. It’s more likely to occur in young pups, older dogs, ill dogs, rescue dogs, and breeds with high intelligence – like German Shepherds!
Aggression is also seen more often in German Shepherds than in some other popular breeds. It’s thought to relate to their working DNA, but rescue Sheps may also display aggression towards other dogs as a result of past trauma. Aggression can result in excessive vocalization towards other dogs on walks and in the home when they pass by, as well as aggressive body language and fighting.
How to stop excessive barking in German Shepherds
If your German Shepherd barks too much during play, you can train them to quieten down by stopping the game whenever they start barking. This way, they learn that the fun stops when they start barking.
You can also create a cue to stop certain behaviors by turning away and crossing your arms to show your Shep that you don’t like them. If you associate your body language with a command such as “all done” – you can use this to let your dog know when the behavior has to stop.
How to stop anxiety-related vocalization
Once you’ve identified the root cause of your Shep’s anxiety, you can fix it by addressing any underlying medical issues with veterinary help, and addressing any behavioral issues with lifestyle changes and training.
Making sure your dog gets sufficient exercise, lots of social interaction, and plenty of mental stimulation with fun games and challenging toys will massively relieve their anxiety.
If your dog’s anxiety is separation-related, build their confidence slowly by leaving the house for small periods of time and gradually increasing the length of time that you are gone. Introduce positive associations with alone time with solo-play toys like treat dispensers.
In fact, positive association training is ideal for any type of anxiety that has specific triggers, whether i’s separation-related or to do with traumas and phobias. Anxiety with no obvious triggers that are to do with life changes can be relieved with lots of TLC and a stable daily routine.
If your Shep’s anxiety is severe, you could also try investing in some anti-anxiety products, such as plug-in diffusers and supplements. They use natural ingredients like CBD and lavender to effectively reduce anxiety in dogs. There are even prescription medications for high-stress pets, so talk to your vet if you’re concerned.